Biology, Democracy, and My Sister

Biology, Democracy, and My Sister is about the idea of diversity in democracy and what a good democratic person looks like.

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”- a famous quote by John F. Kennedy, a democratically-driven president of the United States. Skylar Garvin, my sister, is a health care worker, scholar, and a loving mother of two. Much like John F. Kennedy, she is the magnum opus of democracy, as she has the intrinsic motivation and progressive attitude of a keeper of democracy. Her daily life includes loving her children and caring for them, helping those with physiological impairments, and researching biology.

Despite Skylar believing in democracy, Skylar recognizes that a persuader of people could be dangerous depending on the intentions of the persuader. “Well, I mean, it's just, that's biology. I mean, that's natural selection. If you have a crop where you're only growing that one species of crop, instead of growing 20 different varieties of that crop, something happens. You know, if you find a pest or a disease that affects that crop really badly and takes it down, there's no genetic diversity to help overcome that. So it's just like, if we have a society that's completely the same. If something attacks us that hurts us really badly, there's no other ideas. There's no other people that think differently that could help alleviate that or help make that better or overcome it.”, Skylar says. This criticism of democracy or specifically the idea of a single leader is based in Biology. The idea that natural selection requires diversity to make a successful future for its offspring isn’t new. However, the idea that humans are the same way is an idea that is not popular. Lots of people don’t believe they are on the same level as nature, but this is true. Totalitarian governments where everyone is the same are often problematic both morally and economically. My sister realizes this, so she wants those who are less fortunate to create a future for themselves, band together, and be diverse. A diverse democracy is the best way to remedy the problem of everyone being the same. Thus, my sister is the perfect candidate to be a contributor for this new democracy.

Skylar’s constant intention to help those around her gives her a special type of standing in a community that goes beyond words. However, she manages to portray the standing of her ideal democratic person well. “So if you're serving democratically, the best way to do that is to find something that you can do that helps the most people.”, says Skylar Garvin. I would like to point out the specific statement, “that you can do”. In other words, something that is only limited by the human abilities you have. That alone is a powerful statement, but she states that you must, to the best of your ability, help the most people. This could mean swaying the general public to do something or believe in an idea if you believe that it’s right. Skylar is incredibly persuasive in her words and hopeful ideas. The power of child-like wonder from my 25-year-old sister is en-heartening to say the least. She serves her community every day by going above and beyond for her profession of health care and consistent compassion with children. She persuades those around her to believe in her so she can do great things for them. She is humble in her actions, and she gains the trust of all of those around her.



After the interview with Skylar Garvin, I realized that my ideas of democracy were valid, not because they were undeniably sound, but because I had a fresh perspective. I am enlightened with the idea that democracy is powerful and can be improved upon by the same people who run it. My sister is the best keeper of democracy I know. She helps people with her profession and warns against undiversified democracy. She is, without a doubt, a democratically sound person.

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The Our Democracy Education Project is a partnership with the National Writing Project and PhotoWings. PhotoWings' mission is to help photography to be better understood, created, utilized, seen, and saved. The project is also supported by the National Geographic Society and Catchlight, and explores the question, “What does democracy look like?” through the creation of a multimedia record of the state of local, everyday democracy today.